INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — States that prevent transgender student-athletes from competing in college sports will be subject to a rule that determines where championships will be played, the NCAA said in a statement from its Board of Governors on Monday.
In effect, the statement means the NCAA might not host championships in states with laws barring transgender women from competing in women’s sports. The concern, generally from Republicans, has been that their participation will unfairly impact their cisgender teammates and competitors.
The NCAA requires testosterone suppression treatment for transgender women to compete in women’s sports.
So far, three states — Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee — adopted laws this year. About two dozen other state legislatures have introduced or are actively considering such measures, according to news reports. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, tweeted in March that the law would “protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities.”
Idaho passed a law in March 2020, but a federal judge later blocked the measure. The Idaho law was challenged by transgender cross-country athlete Lindsay Hecox, a student at Boise State University, and 17-year-old cisgender athlete, who was not named in the lawsuit because she was a minor.
Mississippi had faced a ban in 2020 on NCAA championships over its state flag having the Confederate emblem. Mississippi changed its flag in January to eliminate the symbol some considered racist.
The statement issued Monday by the NCAA Board of Governors says in part, “Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect. We are committed to ensuring that NCAA championships are open for all who earn the right to compete in them.
“When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.”
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.